Off to Tamboti we go!
Well after our wonderful morning drive, we were on quite the high, so getting motivated to pack our things and get back on the road wasn’t difficult… actually, I don’t think we’ve ever packed up so quickly in our lives.
Pretty soon our little car was on the road, as we waved goodbye to Satara and headed towards our new “home” - Tamboti.
We had a whole day to get there, and so we decided to take the H1-4 north, and head through Timbavati again (this little section of the park really was a favourite of ours on this trip) – but instead of heading back down to the S40 to the H7, we would take the longer route out of Timbavati – along the river on the S39.
So off on our merry way we went…
On our way up the H1-4, we saw a nice little family of warthog, and a beautiful male kudu grazing:
Turning left on to the S127 (heading towards Timbavati) – we were lucky to find our first of the “Little Five” – wandering up the gravel road:
We spent ages watching this little guy slowly wander determinedly to a destination unknown. Eventually he/she headed into the thick grass, so we continued on.
We stopped for a little while at Timbavati – it was a lovely day, and now that we’d learnt to always have snacks on hand (
) – we used this as our lunch stop.
Once our bellies were full, our legs stretched, and we’d said hello to the little bushbuck, we continued along in new territory – down the S39, the river to the right of the road. We left Timbavati at around 1pm.
We were following another car, but it was quite a way ahead of us and travelling at a similar speed to us, so we only really saw it on the longer, straight stretches of road.
We saw a few of the usual suspects along the way:
Then we came to another straight stretch of road, and we could see the other car (a white 4WD) ahead of us – approximately 150m away. It had stopped, and it only took a moment before we saw what they were looking at… a leopard!!! It was crossing from the river side of the road – right in front of their car!!!
We didn't want to spook it too much, so we very slowly rolled closer to them, engine off. The leopard wasn't spooked, but did continue crossing the road. By the time we made it to their car, it had disappeared into the bush.
We didn't get a photo, but we both saw it clearly. We had a little chat to the excited couple, who were most sorry for us that we hadn't seen it as closely as what they had.
Never mind – we had already had a lovely close encounter with a leopard, and we were just pleased they got to have a similar experience. I think the beams on their faces were just as big as ours had been at some of our amazing sightings… it makes me grin now just thinking about those massive smiles on their dials
We sat at the spot a little longer after they left – just in case the leopard decided to make another appearance, but it wasn't to be this time. We were so happy – we’d just seen our third leopard of the trip, you little ripper!!!
We almost finished the remainder of our biltong at this sighting.
Continuing down the S95 we took time to duck into all the little “off-shoot” roads that loop to the river and back. We didn’t see much down these roads, but it was still a really pretty and relaxing drive.
Towards the end of the S95 we came across a couple of ellies grazing:
Before we turned right on to the H7.
We had hoped that some miraculous road works had been completed in the two days since we’d driven here, but alas, the road closure signs were still up.
The S106 was very quiet on this drive, I guess to be expected given it was now the main route to and from Orpen. But it was not completely devoid of life:
We arrived at Orpen to check in, and were greeted by some really lovely staff – they were so friendly at Orpen! Plus we also met another lovely South African lady, who started chatting to us after commenting on our Aussie accents… I'm learning quickly that we sound very strange to the rest of the world
They were camping at Maroela, and it turned out we would cross paths with them quite regularly over the next few days.
Heading back out of Orpen we noticed a few cars pulled over just past the Tamboti turn-off. I said to Mork “let’s just see what they’ve stopped for before we go to our new home.”
We were pretty stoked to find two Black-backed Jackals on the middle of the road (my photo of them on the road is extremely disappointing so I haven’t included it here).
The one then proceeded to leave the road, for an obviously very necessary piddle:
And then it seemed to settle in…
…so it could check that everything "down below" was still in the right place
I’d never seen any jackals so close before – only at a distance through binoculars – so I was pretty excited about this.
We also noticed this big feathered fellow hanging out a little distance away:
He wouldn’t come closer for a photo, and by now I needed to do what the jackal had just done (the piddle - not the "checking things were in place
) – so we headed off to Tamboti.
Our new home was tent 38, and when we found it, we were ecstatic… what a place to stay, the tent was unreal!
The facilities were awesome, and the view of the river bed (albeit dry) was just splendid…
The outdoor kitchen was so cool (we loved the concept), and the signs up in the kitchen made us smile:
We were SO happy, and spent far too long just enjoying the view and the general feel of the place, while settling into our new home.
It got quite late before I said to Mork – “we've gotta go for our drive – the afternoon is nearly over!”
Mork decided he was quite content where he was, so I hopped in the car for a quick, half-hour drive before gate closing time.
I was greeted with an audience as I left the gate:
I watched the antics of this baboon troop for about 20min of my half hour drive... I'm still unsure if I like baboons (I don’t think I do), but they are entertaining to watch
Suffice to say I didn't get much further before I head to turn around and head back again.
I arrived back at camp to find Mork busily lighting the braai… he’s a good lad that Mork, and in no time our yummy dinner was served:
Our third day in the park ended with us going to sleep to the sound of lions roaring – gosh it’s a tough life in for some in Kruger